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In the words of Christopher Dollanganger, Jr. himself...
THERE ARE TIMES NOW WHEN I THINK BACK to what our lives were like in the mid-’50s and remember it all the way you might remember a dream. Often, with dreams that are so vivid, you’re not sure how much of it was fantasy and how much of it was real. There is so much of it that I want to be true, but I’m not the kind of person who is comfortable fooling himself.
I’ve always had a lot to think about, so it’s not really so unusual for me to have decided to keep a diary. My thoughts are very important to me. This diary will be a way of keeping my history, our history, authentically. Nothing Momma has said, nothing Cathy has said, and nothing Daddy has said will be as easy to recall later on when I’m much older if I don’t remember to write down what was important as soon as I can.
I didn’t do this right away. I kept telling myself diaries were something girls kept, not boys. Then I read about some famous diaries in literature and, of course, ships’ captains’ logs, all written by men, and I thought, this is silly. There’s nothing absolutely feminine about writing your thoughts down, about capturing your feelings. I just wouldn’t do something silly like write “Dear Diary.” I’d just write everything as it happened and be as accurate as I could.
I bought this diary myself with my allowance, but I never told anyone I had, not even my father, who was interested in everything I did and thought. It seemed to me that the whole point of keeping a diary was keeping that secret until it was time to let others read it, if that was your purpose. And it would be no good if it was done cryptically so that people had to figure out what I meant here and what I meant there. That’s why I have to be as honest as I can about what I saw, what I heard, and especially what I felt.
Like Otto Frank, I think it’s important that more people know what really happened to us before and afterward. Cathy used to call us flowers in the attic, withering away. It helped her to think of us that way. But we weren’t flowers. We were young, beautiful children who trusted that those who loved us would always protect us even better than we could protect ourselves.
Besides, I can’t ever think of us in any symbolic way. We weren’t the creations of someone’s imagination. We were real flesh-and-blood children. We were locked away, not only by selfish greed but by cruel hearts that used the Bible like a club to pound out the love we carried in our innocent hearts. How that happened and what became of us is too important to just let it disappear in the dying memories of those who lived it.